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Playtest Dummies


Play is the oxygen of innovation, to coin a phrase.

I think we should start hosting small, informal workshops where game creators could get feedback from their fellows and run quick iterations with actual players. The games we like could then be full-scaled into more formal MNzero events.

And we'd all get to play a lot more goddamned games.

I'd like to find a convenient coffee shop that's in an area with a variety of nearby environments, for all our play testing needs. Uptown, Saint Paul, and the University of Minnesota seems like valuable venues. Suggestions would be appreciated. 

P.S. "Your mom's place" is not a valid suggestion. She's way too busy.



Puzzle Quest Needs Volunteers

Help the clueless! Heckle the clueful! Lord over the less informed!

Puzzle Quest 10 is THIS Sunday and they need a few more able bodies.

Volunteer today!


RSVP for Puzzle Quest 10!

Team up with friends, explore the city, and kick puzzles in the face! Puzzle Quest the 10th is happening on March the 25th. (That's a Sunday.)

Find 'em on the Facebox...



Drinks and Duplicity at the Aster Cafe

Come out to the Aster Cafe this Saturday and see if you can spot the spies! They'll be in and around the Aster from 3:00-3:40, carrying out three separate covert operations in broad daylight.

Then, join us back inside the Aster for drinks and debriefing.

Do you have a talent for counter-intelligence? Find out this Saturday.
You won't see any CIA's recruiters there, rest assured.


Street Games in 2012

This year, MNzero resolves to make its members better criminals, experiment with GPS-enabled games, and go BIG for Halloween.

In this post, we lay out some ideas for new street games, from the chasers we know and love to... other stuff. Weird, crazy, sounds-like-a-really-terrible-idea stuff. The goal is to kick start some conversations. Kick start them right in the keister.

We’re wide open to suggestions! There’s plenty of non-winter to go around. If you’ve got an idea up your sleeve, under your hat, or in your back pocket, lay it on the table! We’re here to make your crazy happen. (As opposed to your therapist and the court system, but what good have they ever done you?... That’s what we thought.)

Idea the First: Heist Game

Players compete in small teams to infiltrate a building and steal something without getting caught in booby traps or shot by Nerf-wielding guards. The show runners would be responsible for preparing the building (puzzle-based locks, multiple points of entry) and filling it with booby traps (noisemaker “bombs,” laser grids, tripwires, etc). During the event, they’d patrol the area with dart guns at the ready.
When it comes to finding a way inside, anything goes. Players could scale the walls, sneak in through windows, pick locks, trick the guards... anything short of knocking down walls is fair game. Then, they just have to find the McGuffin without tripping any of the booby traps or alerting the guards.

When a team makes it back to the starting location with the McGuffin in hand, they split the points evenly between them. This provides players with an incentive to keep their teams small (which the guards will appreciate) and potentially trick their teammates into tripping traps for them (which would be some magnificent backstabbery).

If the heist proves easier than anticipated, we just reset and go for additional rounds. The single player with the most points at the end of the night wins the game.

Idea the Second: GPS-Enabled Battlefield Game

Two or three armies of players compete for control of checkpoints spread throughout the city. Points are scored at fixed intervals; the team with the most players at each checkpoint, at each interval (e.g. every hour, on the hour), controls that checkpoint and scores its points.

We could add complexity and opening and/or closing checkpoints between intervals, making checkpoints worth different amounts of points, awarding bonus points for controlling every checkpoint in the game at least once, and so forth.

Players who can check in via a GPS-enabled devices have interesting options for stealth and subterfuge. Assume that players are in communication with each other and can call in reinforcements. Players who can conceal themselves within the checkpoint area can act as a secret 5th column and get their enemies to under-commit.

If all players are able to check in via a GPS-enabled device, it means the checkpoints could run unmanned and the show runners could participate in the game. Yay!

Idea the Third: The Goblin Market

In the dead of the night, there’s a secret street market where you can acquire anything. All you have to do is bring something that’s worth risking everything.

Each player would be responsible for bringing some kind of prop to the event. This token symbolizes something: the love of a good man, their worst sins, the best years of their life, good/bad karma... anything. They register their token with the show runners prior to the event.

Then, the show runners give each player a goal. It could be to collect a specific combination of tokens, a sheer number of tokens, to prevent someone else from acquiring a token, etc. These goals should probably be kept secret.

Tokens cannot be traded, only won. There will be games of chance and of skill. There will be physical and mental challenges. (Need to figure out a way to prevent people from throwing a game in order to facilitate an exchange. Ideas?)

Awards could go to any player who achieves their personal goal and/or the single player who acquires the most tokens. A “best token in show” award could be determined by popular vote.

This might make a decent Halloween game, but it has to contend with...

Idea the Fourth: Zombie Survival Extravaganza!

We set up at a remote location and plan to be there overnight. Players work together to gather weapons and supplies from far-flung locations in an attempt to assemble a means of escape: a radio to call for help, a boat or truck with enough gas to reach the next town, whatever.

The only problem is all the damned zombies. They ambush the players whenever they venture out, steadily growing in number as the players’ ranks dwindle. They occasionally attack home base en masse and, if the players don’t adequately defend it, devour everyone inside.

Awards would go to anyone who survives the night, anyone who manages to escape, and the zombie with the best recipe for brains.

That’s what we’ve got in the oven for 2012. What’s simmering on your back burner?